Meet Saskia Hampele, an up-and-coming actress who has made her way to Tinseltown via Australia. The young and talented beauty can be seen later this year in the Australian thriller “6 Plots,” and recently had a web series called “Shutterbugs” in LA Webfest. We interviewed Hampele, who currently resides in Los Angeles, to find out more about the aspiring actress who just might be on her way to the big time (Q&A below the photos).
How is everything going with “6 Plots,” and when does it come out?
“6 Plots” is buzzing along nicely. It had its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival and is due to be released later this year. It’s really exciting that it was screened at such a prestigious event like Cannes. After that it will be hitting the cinemas. There’s even talks of a sequel!
How did “Shutterbugs” do at LA Webfest?
“Shutterbugs” was a passion project for myself and a group of my talented and creative friends, so we were stoked to have it recognized at the LA Webfest. It was a lot of fun to make, and everyone donated their time and talents to the cause, so it was an awesome payoff to be there. Although “Shutterbugs” didn’t pick up the big award, it was an honor to be able to attend the ceremony and represent the Aussies at a global online festival. Plus, I got to hang out with the cutest seeing-eye-dog at the ceremony, who was the star of a different webseries (and did win an award).
What new projects are you working on?
I have been auditioning for some great film and television roles both in the U.S. and Australia, and I’m currently being considered for a new regular lead role in a very prominent series, so my fingers are crossed for that. I’m also really pumped to hear the response to “6 Plots” at Cannes, which will hopefully open up some doors for me internationally.
According to the Internet Movie Database, you started acting in 1997 on a show called “The Gift.” You were a young girl then. Has acting always been something you’ve wanted to do?
That was a long time ago! When I was in primary school, I worked on “The Gift” and a few other local children’s TV productions. It was always a dream of mine to be an actress and I would perform at any opportunity as a kid. It was also important for me to go to university and broaden my knowledge, so instead of following the traditional “actress” path and going to drama school, I graduated as a social worker and have worked as a counselor and mentor for young people while continuing with my acting career. The psychology aspect of my studies has actually been a massive help when it comes to analyzing and exploring new characters, so even though I’m not using my degree directly anymore, it’s still really helpful.
You are also a singer/songwriter. Can we expect any Saskia Hampele solo albums any time soon?
Yes, I write mostly folk-inspired songs and play the guitar and piano, and like to dabble in a few other instruments like drums, sax and the violin. My mum is a musician, so music has always been a big part of my life, and as a kid I had access to every instrument under the sun. Most recently I collaborated with an Aussie, MC Bidla, on a couple of tracks from his first EP. If you haven’t wrapped your ears around some aussie hip-hop, I highly recommend it. But sadly, the most singing I do these days is in the car, because acting has been my main focus and taken up the majority of my time and energy. But I’m not writing off the idea of a solo record sometime in the future. I would love to be a part of a project that would allow me to embrace both passions.
What other passions do you have besides acting and singing?
A friend of mine calls me Bart Simpson, because I pick up a new passion or hobby every week. I’m a really curious person, so if I find something that inspires me, I go all-out to find out about it and immerse myself. I’ve done classes in break dancing, sign language, Spanish, German, horse vaulting, dressage, circus performing, philosophy and nutrition to name a few. At the moment I’m really into cooking, and want to learn how to make the perfect sushi roll. And I love traveling. Nothing inspires me more.
What are your favorite places that you’ve visited? Any crazy stories?
Like I said, I am a nut for traveling and am always plotting out the next adventure. My first big travel experience was with my mum, who took me out of school when I was 15 to backpack around Europe for two months. That really opened my eyes to the beauty of the world and other cultures, and since then I have spent time in Africa, Southeast Asia and Central and North America. A lot of my travels have been with friends of mine, but I’ve also backpacked solo which is always a bit crazy. I remember being in Egypt and signing up for a three-day feluca trip up the Nile. I was the only person on the boat with this Egyptian captain, and although I was sure I was never going to be seen again, I went. He ended up taking me into his family village and proposing to me. Although it was tempting to become a princess of the Nile and spend my life sailing, I politely declined. That was one of the most scary and memorable experiences I have had.
What are the main differences between America/LA and Australia?
America has a much better range of burger and fast-food outlets. Australia has better broccoli [laughs]. Americans say “aluminum,” “oregano” and “herbs” differently. Australians say al-you-min-ee-um, or-i-gar-no and pronounce the H in herbs. Americans say ‘lots’, and Australians say ‘heaps’. In America, you always tip the waiter. In Australia, you only tip if you think the service was really awesome. In LA, you drive to most places. In Melbourne, you walk or catch a tram. At a party in LA, there’s always someone who has written a script. At a party in Australia, there is always someone who has written on the toilet wall.
What qualities do you look for in a guy?
The qualities that are important for me in a guy are a sense of humor and not taking themselves too seriously. Honesty and vulnerability are also really attractive qualities for me. I don’t think a relationship can work if both parties are not willing to be vulnerable and get honest and ugly about how they feel. And a good sense of style always helps too.
Any bad date stories since you’ve been in the States?
Well, I have been with my boyfriend for almost four years. So having moved out of Single Town a while ago, I haven’t been on any dates in the States. I have to say, though: American men are much more forward than Aussie guys, which is refreshing. In Australia, a guy will avoid you the whole night, send his friends over to make a joke about how their mate thinks you’re cute, then spill a beer on you before they’ve even asked your name. But I’ve definitely seen some dating faux pas. My friend was asked out by a guy when we were out one night in Silver Lake, and when she politely declined, he was really rude and just stormed out of the place. You can’t win them all, buddy.
Give us three fun facts about yourself that we can’t find in your bio or anywhere online.
1. I’m an adrenaline junky. I’ve been skydiving, rock climbing, abseiling and recently went cage-diving with a five-meter-long great white shark.
2. When I was a kid, I had a pet goat named Billy who I used to walk around on a lead.
3. I once tried to dye my hair black for a theater role where I was playing a Thai girl, and my hair turned completely gray.